If you have a kid in sports, you know how pricey it can be.
From $300 football helmets to $1,000 hockey skates, parents know the pain of outfitting a young athlete. And if your child has a growth spurt, you may only be able to use that pricey gear for one season.
Frugal sports parents have discovered an affordable option — resale shops. Resale shops offer the option of selling your old sports gear and buying more for far less than retail.
The NBC 5 Consumer Team found frugal father Michael Jackson shopping in Play It Again Sports in Plano. He has three kids, all of whom play sports. And they play a lot of sports - football, volleyball, basketball, and track, but he isn't taking out a second mortgage to buy all his kids' gear.
Jackson sells old gear at the end of the season and buys more. That's the option offered at this resale shop. The store will pay cash for old sports gear, but you get more bang for your resale buck if you use the trade-in toward the purchase of more gear. The store also sells new items, and customers can use store credit from their trade-ins toward the purchase of new gear as well.
But the dollar really stretches in this store if the customer uses the trade-in value of their gear for used gear and apparel. For example, the store sells used cleats for $9.99 — no matter the original cost. Squeamish about wearing someone else's sweaty cleats?
"We have a spray," store manager Josh Henderson assured. "We spray them down make sure they're all clean and sanitized."
Henderson showed how great the deals can be. He pointed to bat that looked new and retails for $300. Play It Again Sports was selling it for $130.
The store also offers the option of selling your used equipment on consignment, giving customers the opportunity to make more money from the sale of their gear.
While in the store, Jackson picked up gear for a friend's son. He said his friend had been shopping for a collar bone or donut pad. It's a pad placed on a football players shoulders beneath his shoulder pads. The young player needed the pad for the last game of the season, and his father didn't want to pay the $25 retail price for one game.
"I came here and, within minutes, I found a donut pad for $4," Jackson said smiling.
Play It Again Sports managers said they inspect all their used equipment to make sure it's safe.
"We're really picky about that stuff. We will never buy helmets or anything like that that are damaged," said Henderson.
Parents hesitant about buying used equipment should also keep in mind that, not only is it cheaper, some equipment performs better after a little use.
Also keep in mind that when you sell used equipment, take the opportunity to maximize your savings by asking the store what they pay in cash versus store credit versus consignment.
And remember to take your kid shopping with you. It's easier to get the right fit if your little athlete there and return policies at resale shops are usually more stringent than retail.